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The Epistemic Irresponsibility of the Subjects-of-a-Life Account by Julia Tanner

The Epistemic Irresponsibility of the Subjects-of-a-Life Account

Julia Tanner

Abstract: In this paper I will argue that Regan’s subjects-of-a-life account is epistemically irresponsible. Firstly, in making so many epistemic claims. Secondly in making the claims themselves.

Conclusion: I assessed the epistemic responsibility of Regan’s subjects-of-a-life account. All the evidence that suggests mammals are conscious have memories etc. suggests all vertebrates (and possibly some cephalopods) are. By ignoring this evidence Regan is being epistemically irresponsible. We can never be certain of our epistemic claims thus the more such claims we make the more risk we run of being wrong. Regan’s subjects-of-a-life criterion relies on a lot of empirical evidence (some of which is questionable). His account is thus risky from an epistemic point of view.

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